July 16, 2015
Republican legislators today re-emphasized the need for more transparency in the University of Connecticut’s budget process.
The UConn Board of Trustees on June 24 adopted the university’s $1.3 billion budget without public discussion and after reviewing it behind closed doors for 90 minutes. This prompted Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), and Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) to announce their intention to propose legislation next year to bring about more transparency to the process.
“Former UConn trustee Louise Bailey is right,” said Witkos. “She says UConn’s budget discussions should be done in public, not in private. Surely UConn’s current board members, including Gov. Malloy, can see that the process cries out for more sunlight. There is a massive amount of taxpayer dollars involved. This is our flagship university. Why are major financial decisions and discussions taking place out of the public eye? Republicans will be pushing for policies which let the sun shine in, and we hope our ideas will generate bipartisan support.”
“It’s time for UConn to draw the curtains back,” said McLachlan, the ranking Republican senator on the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee. “Taxpayers deserve a discussion that is out in the open. They deserve to know how these dollars are being spent. The public should be able to scrutinize the budget and provide input. After all, it’s their money.”
“I hope the public can see a disturbing pattern here in state government which needs to be broken,” said Witkos, the ranking Republican senator on the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. “Last month, Democrat lawmakers and Gov. Malloy crafted the $40 billion state budget behind closed doors. They did it in darkness, without a single Republican in the room. As we propose legislation to make the UConn budget process more transparent, we will also be reminding the public that the same transparency is desperately needed at the Connecticut State Capitol.”